By Signal Staff
Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, took the podium in the House of Representatives on Friday to nominate Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, to be the next speaker of the House.
Garcia made the nomination in advance of the 12th of what would end up being 15 ballots as congressional Republicans worked to end a stalemate in which about 200 Republicans had supported McCarthy only to be stymied by about 20 holdouts from the party’s right flank.
The stalemate finally ended late Friday night — early Saturday morning in Washington, D.C. — as McCarthy secured enough votes to become speaker of the house on the 15th ballot.
Garcia issued a statement shortly after the final ballot:
“Democracy isn’t always pretty,” said the local congressman’s statement, which echoed the themes of his nominating speech before the 12th ballot. “This process was not about Kevin McCarthy, this process was about the 330 million Americans, about the preservation of our Constitution and the liberties guaranteed therein, about the 246 years of pride and providence that we have enjoyed as a nation. After many discussions and compromises on rules (many of which will make the House better), I’m glad that consensus was established and that we have elected our speaker. I look forward to getting back to work under the leadership of Speaker McCarthy. It’s time to hit the ground running, repair the damage caused by failed far-left policies, and get our nation back on track.”
According to multiple media reports, McCarthy had been negotiating with the holdouts, offering concessions — including the reinstatement of a rule that allows for any one member of the House to call for a vote on whether to oust the speaker. The number of holdouts has gradually shrunk over the past several days, with many observers speculating that the concessions made would leave McCarthy as a politically weakened speaker once he was finally chosen.
During Garcia’s speech — on the anniversary of the Capitol Hill riot of Jan. 6, 2021 — the congressman also thanked Capitol Police for their service and for protecting members of Congress. Legislators responded with a standing ovation for the Capitol Police.
After Garcia’s nomination, McCarthy received 213 votes on the 12th ballot — still not enough to be chosen as speaker, which requires a majority of the votes cast, and 432 members were voting. In the subsequent 13th ballot, McCarthy picked up one more vote, getting to 214 before the House recessed for a break until 10 p.m. Eastern time Friday.
When the House reconvened, a contentious 14th ballot was conducted, with McCarthy again coming up short, before finally being chosen as speaker on the 15th ballot early Saturday morning.